The 17th of February is Café Au Lait Day.
A café au lait, meaning literally “coffee with milk”, is a French way of drinking coffee with a lot of milk in it. The typical ratio is half coffee, and half heated milk.
Heating the milk first before adding it to the coffee prevents the milk from making the coffee cold. It also brings out the sweetness in the milk. In coffee shops, the milk will often be steamed. At home, people scald the milk in a saucepan or in the microwave. The milk is not frothed.
You can make one at home today, or treat yourself to one at a coffee shop — today might be a good day to support a local independent coffee shop.
A café au lait is primarily meant for breakfast but if you are rushed this morning you can have it anytime during the day, especially if it’s a cold day.
In France, it is traditionally served in a coffee bowl, which you raise to your mouth with both hands, and sip out of.
Some cafés will offer café au lait as a specially-priced item today.
If you can’t find a café au lait on offer anywhere, you could try the Italian version, which is called “caffè latte“. Note though that a caffè latte has a very different ratio of coffee to milk. For a caffè latte, it is 1 part coffee to 2 parts milk, instead of 1 to 1 as it is for café au lait.
CBS Philadelphia. Celebrating National Cafe Au Lait Day In Center City. 17 February 2018. Accessed February 2021 at https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2018/02/17/celebrating-national-cafe-au-lait-day-in-center-city/
Fast, Tegan. On Wednesday, We Drink Cafe Au Lait. Denver, Colorado: Denver Life Magazine. February 2016. Accessed February 2021 at https://denverlifemagazine.com/2016/02/on-wednesday-we-drink-cafe-au-lait/